Monday, December 7, 2009

Red Beans and Rice

For my last and final dish made with the Bryan Foods products I received, I wanted to do a main dish, so I picked a good old Louisiana standard of red beans and rice.

The first step is to soak the beans--I used small red beans-did you know that's what "real" red beans and rice are made of? Not kidney beans as some folks assume.

You can soak the beans overnight, but if I'm going to be home all day I usually use the "boil and soak" method. Cover well with water, and bring to a boil...
...cover, and turn off the heat. Allow to soak at least 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours

Drain the soak water and rinse with cool water
Add fresh water--I used about 6-7 cups. You can use stock if you have it, or do like I did and add some chicken stock paste. I also add some dried onion and a good seasoning blend--I use Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.

Bring back to a boil, then cover and cook over medium heat. Cook according to the package directions--probably two hours--not at a rolling boil, but at a good bubbly simmer. Cook until tender, and season again to taste if necessary. Take a cup or so of beans out of the pot and mash with a spoon, then return to the pot--or just mash a few with the cooking the spoon as you stir--additional cooking will allow the bean broth to thicken just a little.

And now for the sausage--I used to add my sausage close the beginning and cook with the beans for hours--the beans tasted good, but the sausage had all of the flavor more or less boiled out of it. Then a good friend told me her secret--cook your beans until they're tender, seasoning to taste. Then add the sausage at the end, so that it still has it's flavor intact.
Because I like a little bit of meat with every bite, I often dice the sausage, but you can also cut it in rounds if you want it to look prettier.
As I often do, I usually parboil it slightly, brown it in a skillet, or even microwave for a couple of minutes. Today I used the microwave, then added it to the pot, covered, and simmered until dinner time.

Serve over rice, with crackers or cornbread.

As I mentioned in the giveaway post at the top of the page, I've used Bryan Foods products before--I'm picky about the sausage I buy, and I like the flavors and the texture of Bryan sausage.

Disclosure: Bryan Foods furnished the smoked sausage and cocktail smokies for these recipes, as well as an apron as a gift. I've received no other compensation for doing this review. The views stated here are those of my own.

Don't foget to enter the giveaway at the top of page!

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

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